Two big chocolate producers are warning the popular treat could run out by 2020 because people are eating it faster than farmers can grow cocoa. Ciara Lee reports
It's the news few want to hear - a shortage of chocolate. But some of the world's biggest producers have warned it could run out by 2020. The reason - people are eating it faster than farmers can grow the key ingredient. Cocoa prices have surged 25 percent in the last year. That's partly down to economic and environmental pressures on farmers. And partly down to Asia - where demand has reportedly increased seven times faster than in Europe. The trend has even increased in South America where chocolate was invented. Brazil - once one of the world's biggest cocoa manufacturers - is now a net importer. Combine all this with fears about Ebola reaching key west African cocoa growers and you have a problem. Paul Young is a Master Chocolatier in London. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MASTER CHOCOLATIER, PAUL A YOUNG, SAYING: "For us what I think will happen is, if the big multinationals can't buy their cacao from West Africa, they'll start looking elsewhere and that could be the places where I buy a lot of my cacao and chocolate from. Those places could then start feeling the pinch so those prices could end up rising as well, which would then affect me directly and my customers." Some producers are trying to get ahead of the game, investing in new cocoa markets like Colombia and Trinidad. But consumers may have to think about reducing their intake - or chocolate could become a rare luxury like caviar.